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Emil Ruusuvuori will try to earn one of the biggest wins of his career on Tuesday when he plays red-hot Russian Andrey Rublev in the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. The Finnish No. 1 has already upset a top star this year when he ousted World No. 11 Gael Monfils in the first round of the Australian Open.

ATPTour.com caught up with Ruusuvuori to learn more about the 21-year-old’s life on Tour.

What is your craziest travel story?
I don’t have any that crazy compared to the older guys who have been on Tour for a longer time. One is when I won my first Challenger title in Uzbekistan [in 2019] and we had to leave pretty much right away from the final. I played and we took the same taxi with my opponent to the train station and he forgot something at the hotel. He had to go back and his taxi got pulled over by police and then he barely made it to the train.

We didn’t have time to eat after the final, so we ate some burger on the train in Uzbekistan. That was kind of crazy after a final. I didn’t even really have time to celebrate, so that was a special story.

Do you enjoy travelling the world or consider it just something that needs to be done to be a pro tennis player? If you do enjoy it, what do you enjoy about travelling?
It has ups and downs, positives and negatives. At the moment it’s not easy with all the restrictions… You get to see so many places, you get to meet so many people from different countries and different backgrounds. I find it interesting.

It will be nice [once the pandemic is over]. Already there are some places that this is the second or third time [I will] go, then you get familiar with the place and that’s always nice. You feel like you know the place and every time it’s not something new. There are so many places, even tournaments I haven’t been to. There’s much more to see.

What are two essential non-tennis items you always pack for trips?
Nowadays I have my PlayStation with me all the time. We spend so much time in the room, so we have to have something else to do and it’s a fun way to connect with all my friends, play some games and stuff. [I play] with people from home. Then [I take] earphones. I’m always flying, so those need to be with me. 

What is your favourite tournament city to visit and why?
I think Melbourne is actually one of my favourites. The city is very nice. It works well there and from the winter in Finland to go there to the warm weather [is nice]. It’s really far, you can’t go there too often, but once I get there that’s one of my favourites.

Is there a tournament you haven’t played that you want to because it’s a city you want to visit?
I’ve heard a lot about Shanghai, about the food and hotel and everything. That seems like a pretty good tournament, so that’s one I want to go to for sure.

Where is your favourite vacation destination?
I have a lot to explore still! Last year we just stayed in Finland, went to the north. Before that we did go to California, but there are many places that I would like to go to for vacation. But there just aren’t too many chances during the year.

Max two, normally one. You have to plan it well and see what you want to see. Maybe Maldives will be next on the list. But for us, if you’re on vacation, then you don’t really want to do too much. But if it wasn’t only resting, there are a lot of cities. Normally for us resting is the main point of it, so that for sure would be a good option.  

How do you try to overcome jet lag and acclimate to the local time zone?
I recently was in Kazakhstan for four days, and it’s only five hours to Marseille [where I was last week]. But before that I came from Australia. I’m sure it’s easier when you’re younger, but still you feel it. On the way you either go with the time of the destination or you just go without sleep for such a long time that you’re so tired that you catch up with the jet lag and you try your best.

Got any tips to get comfortable on a flight? And how do you pass the time?
The goal for sure is to play so well that you can fly the long ones always in business. For Australia, we’ve been trying to upgrade the long flights. It’s so much help in the long run. Personally, I can’t really sleep in the normal seat. It’s pretty terrible when you arrive. You try to upgrade so you can sleep normally. That I think is a huge advantage.

Are you someone who gets to the airport with lots of time to spare or do you cut it fine?
It depends a lot where you are. In Finland we cut it close every time because there are no people and if you have a gold card, you can just drop off your bags. There we just know how long it takes and we cut it really close.

Last time [I left Finland] I was going to Kazakhstan and there was more of a queue than we thought, so we were really close. But usually it goes pretty fast. In some countries you don’t want to cut it that close and you take the extra time.


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